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ShopperTrak Buys Finland’s RapidBlue

Acquired firm uses Bluetooth-based technology to measure traffic within stores.

ShopperTrak, the Chicago-based collector and analyzer of retail traffic, has acquired RapidBlue Solutions Oy, a Helsinki-based specialist in in-store and in-mall foot traffic.

Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. Gavin Weigh, chief executive officer of RapidBlue, will remain with the company as the Helsinki office serves as a hub for research and development and sales in Eastern Europe and Russia.

RapidBlue uses Bluetooth signals emitted by shoppers’ phones to track movement within malls, stores and restaurants, which are in turn received by modules within those facilities and then collected and analyzed. The addition of RapidBlue’s interior tracking services will supplement ShopperTrak’s existing technology, which is used in more than 60,000 retail locations spanning about 90 countries.

ShopperTrak uses electronic monitoring devices to measure traffic entering and leaving a store or mall but has generally relied on ceiling cameras to measure activity within a specific retail environment.

“RapidBlue’s ability to collect anonymized data based on shopper movement inside stores increases the value of our portfolio of industry-leading products and services,” said Christopher Ainsley, ShopperTrak’s ceo. “Combined with our recent acquisition of ReTel Technologies, ShopperTrak now offers premium interior analytics capabilities that blend the best of video and location-based analytics.”

Kevin Kearns, chief sales officer of ShopperTrak, explained, “RapidBlue gives us the ability to track where customers are moving within a store, where they’re spending their time, whether they’re being drawn to a retailer’s most profitable items and how long they’re staying in a given area, in a store or in a mall. Brick-and-mortar stores are the top market for these new services, but shopping centers and malls are a close second because they use them to gauge traffic and help determine their rents and advertising needs.”

He told WWD that about 20 percent of shoppers have an active Bluetooth signal at any given time. Although shoppers’ names aren’t associated with those signals, each is assigned an identification number that can be used to track return visits, deviations in the time spent in a store or a mall from one visit to the next and other data “for which there is strong demand among our customers.”

The technology is also used in quick-service restaurants and grocery stores, he said.